Pura Vida: La Primera Parte–Moonlight Obscured by the Rainforest

Text and Photos by Kimberly Cecchini

Within an hour of being in country, our twenty-four year old Tico guide had driven my husband and I beyond the city limits and we were speeding down a desolate highway with only the headlights to illuminate the mountains in the heavy rain of the “green” season. The soundtrack was The Clash’s London Calling album and stories about Mateo’s life in Costa Rica.IMG_6016 My northeastern liberal self squirmed a bit in the passenger seat at the sight of the gun that laid in the console between myself and our new friend.  Mateo*  claimed to have had self-defense training with his gun and, as we observed later, it was perhaps a more necessary accessory in San José than it is in most parts of New York. In addition, he was implementing his speed driving course to condense the hour drive to the Pacific coast; without hesitation, he weaved over the double yellow line to pass slower vehicles.  Soon enough we were driving through the nightlife strip of the surfer tourist trap, Jacó, passing a sleepier beach area and turning onto the

Light in the Dark Outside Our Window
Light in the dark outside our window

crumbly road that led to our mini-resort.  Mateo jumped out of the vehicle to open a large wooden gate which he closed behind us before rolling down the driveway. The canopy of trees obscured the moonlight and so all we could see of our eery path was leaves in the glare of headlamps and the halos of compact fluorescent lights in plastic lanterns.

We retired to our cottage on the property that was shared only with our tour guide, a guard and three dogs including a chained Rottweiler that had once bitten a chunk out of a foolish guest’s leg.  And whatever might have lied in wait for us in the seemingly deep rainforest.

If nothing else, we knew we would have an experience. Pura Vida!

*Not his real name

Morning greetings
Morning greetings

10 thoughts on “Pura Vida: La Primera Parte–Moonlight Obscured by the Rainforest

  1. Did you find Costa Rica expensive?

    I’ve read many a traveler who has spent minimal time in Costa Rica, instead focusing on other Central American countries simply due to the cost.

    1. It depends on what you do. For example, really local spots were cheap to eat at-and the best food-and other places such as in touristy Jacó could be comparable to moderately priced restaurants in a US suburb. Overall, it was not really an expensive trip but we are conservative. It would make sense that other countries around it would be cheaper since they are not as well known for tourism.

      1. We are planning on going to CR in the future. Not sure when, likely 2 or 3 years from now. My fear is … not wanting to leave once there!

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